(WACO) – Students in the Precision Machining Technology program at Texas State Technical College are working with four new Haas Mini Mill machines installed in May.
Third-semester students studying Advanced Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) Machining are some of the first using the machines to create such things as small cannons and tape dispensers as class projects. The students use written plans and theories to personalize their own creations, said George Love, an instructor in the Precision Machining Technology program.
The new machines contain robotic components, industrial computers and the ability to connect to smartphones and the Internet. The machines can cut aluminum, brass and steel.
“The first thing to know is how to set the lathe manually before letting the computer do the work,” said Fernando Ortiz, 38, a Precision Machining Technology major from Temple scheduled to graduate in December from TSTC.
Nick Huffman, 18, a Machining certificate student from Houston who is scheduled to graduate in August, said he has noticed that manual machines make deeper cuts than automated mills.
He said knowing how the Mini Mills work could help him in his job search after he graduates.
“I want to stay in the Houston area,” Huffman said. “Machinists are needed everywhere, but definitely in Houston.”
The Precision Machining Technology program already had two larger milling machines that students had to take turns to work on.
“The students, hands-on time has now quadrupled (with the new machines),” Love said.
The machines are worth a total of $90,000 and were made possible with a grant from the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006.
“That (recommended purchase) comes from the Precision Machining Technology program’s advisory board,” Love said. “The advisory board wants the students to have more CNC time.”
TSTC’s Precision Machining Technology program in Waco is accredited by the National Institute for Metalworking Skills Inc.
TSTC in Waco will host summer Registration Rally events from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on June 23, July 14 and Aug. 11. For more information, go to tstc.edu/rally.
For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.